Skip to main content Skip to footer


Despite the potential benefits of a coastal location, many port and coastal towns and cities are run-down, unattractive and underperform in economic and social wellbeing terms. Widespread factors include a poor built environment, derelict industrial and other legacy sites, the decline in traditional tourism and the poor connectivity to the waterfront. Rising sea levels and coastal erosion pose further major challenges. All this demands innovation in rethinking and making our coastal towns and ports more resilient. These issues are common to port and coastal cities and towns all around the UK, transcending simplistic north/south or east/west divisions.

The infrastructure for Port cities And Coastal Towns network – iPACT – aims to identify people-focused, infrastructure-based solutions to the complex problem of improving social well-being and prosperity in coastal communities through resilient and sustainable regeneration. A key emphasis will be on taking advantage of the coastal location.

 Research questions will be based around themes:

  • Connectivity with the coast 
  • Inclusive infrastructure 
  • Maintaining and enhancing resilience 
  • Coastal region transport 
  • Nature-inspired, human scale engineering  

Research will focus on case study sites that exemplify the issues faced by the spectrum of port cities and coastal towns. These are Southampton (the challenges of a working port and lack of public access to the waterfront), Morecambe East (a declining seaside resort with limited local economic opportunities), and North Norfolk (a touristic area of historic communities with an ageing population facing coastal erosion and sea-level rise).   

Stage 1  WeValue consultations

A series of WeValue community-based consultations has been carried out to elucidate key issues, particularly as felt by under-represented groups and less-heard voices.

Stage 2  Research sandpits

A series of three sandpits, one in each case study location, were attended by 75 of the iPACT network of researchers. The aim of these workshops was to develop collaborative, infrastructure-related projects to explore potential solutions aligned with community needs. We have up to £500k funding for 5-10 such Pilot Study feasibility projects at £50-100k each.

Stage 3  Pilot studies

Funding applications have been submitted and awards will be made to 6 successful projects. There will then be a period of about 12 months, starting June 2023, during which the pilot studies will be conducted and developed as bases for further funding. Further details of these projects are on the Pilot projects pages.

Stage 4  Legacy

The iPACT Network will grow into a thriving and established, collaborative research and user community, which will develop and see implemented sustainable infrastructure solutions to improve the wellbeing, resilience and sustainability of the UK’s coastal settlements for decades to come.

The activities of the Network+ will be organised through five interdependent strands:

1. Celebrating the major asset: connecting the town/city with the waterfront, balancing the needs of a functional waterfront with ambience, public accessibility, leisure and heritage

2. Inclusive infrastructure: engaging with communities, policymakers, the public sector and business to ensure effective infrastructure development and use

3. Maintaining and enhancing resilience: making port and coastal city and town regeneration resilient to climate change, sea-level rise, coastal erosion and flooding

4. Coastal region transport: addressing issues associated with the particular challenges of transport to/from and within port and coastal cities and towns arising from linear development along the coast or estuary, a current or former working waterfront, and the absence of up to half the hinterland

5. Nature inspired, human scale engineering: including greening the grey infrastructure, to provide/enhance social value for the surrounding communities

Join the iPACT Network

Membership of the iPACT network is open to all researchers and potential users and beneficiaries of the research: from educational establishments, industry and business, local authorities and citizen / residents’ groups. We particularly welcome early career researchers, academics from a wide range of disciplines, and representatives of business/industry, local authorities and the community. Membership of the network will allow you to access our events, support network and apply for pilot project funding.

Register through the Portal for your personal account where you can manage your profile.

You can also email us


Date: Upcoming Past

Sorry, no events were found.

Recent tweets from @iPACTNetwork

No feed found with the ID 1. Go to the All Feeds page and select an ID from an existing feed.